Safest Cities in Vermont – 2020

Last Updated on January 19, 2020

Vermont witnessed another drop in violent crime between 2017 and 2018, according to the latest FBI crime data.  With violent crime levels at less-than-half of the national rate, Vermont is justifiably considered one of the safest states in the country. Here’s a closer look at the Green Mountain State’s safest cities.

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Crime rate per 1,000
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Law enforcement per 1,000

Vermont’s safest city is Milton, a suburb of 11,024 in Chittenden County with a history dating back to before the Revolutionary War.  While Milton’s violent crime rate of 1.45 per 1,000 is just a bit below the statewide level, the city’s very low property crime rate of 9.43 per 1,000 earned it the top spot.

Coming in at #2 is Colchester, another Chittenden County community and suburb of Burlington.  With a violent crime rate below 1 per 1,000 and the Vermont National Guard stationed in the town, Colchester residents can be rest assured of their safety.

The 3rd safest municipality in Vermont is Essex, the state’s largest town and home to its busiest Amtrak station and largest private employer, GlobalFoundries. Essex lays claim to the lowest violent crime in Vermont, with 0.60 per 1,000, but falls short of the #1 spot due to an above state average property crime rate.

There’s a significant elevation in crime levels between the 3rd and 4th entries on the list, as #4 Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, has violent and property crime rates above statewide levels. However, the city benefits from a large police force, resulting in a ratio of 3.20 law enforcement personnel per 1,000.

#5 Rutland continues the dropoff, earning a violent crime rate slightly above the national average, yet also has a large police force that mitigates the city’s less-than-impressive crime figures.

Vermont’s Safest Cities

VTCityPopulationViolent
crime
Property
crime
Law enforcement
employees
Total crimesCrime rate per 1,000Violent crimes per 1,000Property crimes per 1,000Law enforcement per 1,000
1Milton11024161041812010.891.459.431.63
2Colchester17313161963521212.250.9211.322.02
3Essex21803132973331014.220.6013.621.51
4Burlington4221211583713595222.552.7219.833.20
5Rutland15300603835144328.953.9225.033.33
6South Burlington19318325724760431.271.6629.612.43
7Bennington14900314153244629.932.0827.852.15
8Brattleboro11410404573749743.563.5140.053.24

Methodology

To identify the safest cities, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and cities with populations under 10,000. This left 3,381 cities (out of a total of 9,251). 

There are two broad classifications of crimes: violent crimes and non-violent crimes. According to the FBI, “Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses that involve force or threat of force. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims. ”

We computed the total number of crimes reported by each city by adding violent crimes and property crimes. We then created a crime rate as the number of crimes per 1,000 population. Then we transformed the total crime rate variable so that the skewness was reduced and normalized.

Data from 2,831 law enforcement agencies was then collected to determine police adequacy (TotalCrimes / Number of police employees).  We consider that the smaller the police adequacy statistic is, the safer the city is. This variable was also transformed and normalized.

Finally, the two variables were combined to create a safety score for each city.